Irvine, Calif. - January 18, 2014 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team concluded its season-opening trip on the West Coast with a three-game loss to Grand Canyon at Concordia University. The Antelopes won by the set scores of 26-24, 25-16, 25-23.
This marked the fifth-straight season that Springfield opened up the season with a trip to the West Coast. The Pride, which lost a total of three matches all of last season, dropped three matches this weekend against some elite competition. In addition to the Springfield's loss to Division I Grand Canyon today, Springfield earlier dropped a three-set match to the reigning NAIA National Champion in Concordia-Irvine as well as four-set defeat at Hope International.
Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) totaled a team-best eight kills, while Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) chipped in seven kills. Ryan Malone (Chicopee, Mass.) had a strong all-around match with six kills, three digs, and three aces, and Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.) notched four blocks. Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas) led the Pride attack with 24 assists as Springfield hit .143 on the night.
Springfield had a tremendous start to the match, racing out to a 18-9 lead in the first set after Malone's second ace. Grand Caynon responded with a remarkable 11-2 surge to even things at 20-all. A block from O'Leary and Malone gave the Pride set point at 24-23, but the Antelopes used a kill and two-straight Springfield errors to rally for a 26-24 victory.
The Pride put together its best hitting performance in the second set, posting 10 kills in the stanza at a .429 clip. With the score tied at seven-all, the Antelopes once again put together a big run, this time a 11-4 burst to take a commanding 18-11 advantage. Springfield got no closer than six as Grand Canyon took the set, 25-16.
The third set featured 13 ties and four lead changes as it had a back-and-forth flow to it. Malone would hammer a ball in transition to give the Pride a 23-21 cushion, but Grand Canyon seized control down the stretch, scoring the final four points to complete the sweep.
Springfield will play its first Division III match of the year when it hosts Lasell College on Thursday at 6:00 pm in Blake Arena.